07 Sep 2012

OU student Deborah Criddle wins two Paralympic medals

Massive congratulations to OU student Deborah Criddle, who won a gold and silver in the dressage at the Paralympics this weekend.

Deborah, who is studying for a BSc (Hons) in Natural Sciences, won silver in the Individual Dressage Championships Test –Grade III on her horse LJT Akilles, before taking the gold in the mixed team dressage alongside teammates Lee Pearson, Sophie Christiansen and Sophie Wells.

On winning her silver medal, Deborah -who very narrowly missed out on the individual gold – said, "He's (her horse) very sensitive and I didn't quite have the power in my right leg to get him back. There's more atmosphere out there today but that's what you've got to ride with. “For the mistakes I made it was a pretty good score. I stopped moving my seat and he realised that. That happens and I'm pleased we got it back.”

Deborah is an extremely accomplished athlete who won an incredible three gold medals at the Beijing Olympics and two golds at the European Championships in 2011.

Martin Bean, Vice-Chancellor of The Open University said, “It has been a great summer for OU Olympians and Paralympians, and Deborah’s double really puts the icing on the cake. Her amazing achievement shows that flexible OU courses can be tailored to any individual – even allowing elite athletes to fit their studies around intense training schedules.”

With Deborah’s fantastic achievement this weekend OU students have won seven medals in total at the London Games – three gold’s, one silver and three bronze.

A new sport – themed qualification has also launched this year, the BSc (Hons) Sport, Fitness & Coaching, which expands the existing Foundation Degree in Sport & Fitness to full honours. Find out more here: http://www3.open.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/qualification/q76.htm
Notes to Editors:

The Open University (OU) is the largest academic institution in the UK and a world leader in flexible distance learning. Since it began in 1969, the OU has taught more than 1.7 million students and has more than 264,000 current students, including 18,000 overseas.

The OU has been one of the top three UK universities for student satisfaction in the National Student Survey every year since the survey began in 2005. In 2010/11 it had a 93 per cent satisfaction rating.

Over 70% of students are in full-time or part-time employment, and four out of five FTSE 100 companies have sponsored staff to take OU courses.

In the UK’s latest Research Assessment Exercise (RAE 2008) the Open University was ranked in the top third of UK higher education institutions. More than 50% of OU research was assessed in the RAE as internationally excellent, with 14% as world leading.

Regarded as Britain’s major e-learning institution, the OU is a world leader in developing technology to increase access to education on a global scale. Its vast ‘open content portfolio’ includes free study units on OpenLearn, which has had more than 21 million visits, and materials on iTunes U, which has recorded over 50 million downloads.

The OU has a 41 year partnership with the BBC which has moved from late-night lectures in the 1970s to prime-time programmes such as Frozen Planet, Bang Goes the Theory, James May’s Big Ideas and The Money Programme.

Visit www.open.ac.uk

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